Summer Solstice

Alban Hefin (Welsh), Mediosamos (Gaulish), Agnihotr (Vedic), Litha (neo-Pagan).

The longest day of the year:  the Sun has reached both its highest point and greatest strength, and now begins the inevitable decent toward the darkness.  Life is celebrated, for the crops are growing and the people are thriving.

In many places, Midsummer is celebrated with similar customs from Beltaine.  Bonfires are lit and once again the livestock is guided between two fires, to continue their good health, safety, and that they continue to produce.  Brave lads jump the fires, and how high they leap is thought to be an indicator of the height of the crops when harvested.  Some celebrants would slip off to the woods, to greet the summer in a much more intimate, private celebration.

For Neo-Pagans, Litha signifies the beginning of summer, and marks the longest day of the year.  The God is in his prime and the powers of nature have reached their highest point.  The earth is awash with the ripening and growing bounty created by the mating of the Goddess and God.

Sunna, the Norse Goddess of the sun, or Baldr, the shining God of light and beauty, are often the deity honored at this time.  Our Norse ancestors, with the crops safely in the ground, would also take this time to fish, trade and raid.